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Ohio Town Feels Economic Pinch

Ohio News Network

Most everyone is feeling the strain of the economy, whether it is high gas prices, grocery store costs or jobs cuts.

In one month, the northwest Ohio town of North Baltimore saw a 10 percent loss of it's job force.

ONN's Denise Alex visited the town now hoping one company can keep the village financially on track.

At 83, Dorothy Franks can't think of anywhere else she would rather be than North Baltimore.

Her 88-year-old husband, Merle Franks, agrees.

"It is a nice town, nice people," said Mr. Franks.

Still, nice doesn't cut it when it comes to keeping jobs in a village of 3,300.

"Things have changed a lot here," said Mrs. Franks.

In just the past month, two of the village's big employers announced cuts or closures.

The Johnson Rubber Company folded last month, taking 130 jobs with it.

Now, North Baltimore's Continental Structural Plastics Plant is laying off 200 of it's 270 person workforce by the end of the year.

A plastics worker who didn't want to be identified is among those soon-to-be out of work.

"I've got a back up plan," said the worker of 25 years. "But I feel really sorry for a lot of those other folks that don't. The way these companies don't care about your loyalty to them."

Many hope construction expected to begin at the end of the year on a new $80 million CSX Rail terminal, with 100 possible jobs available just west of North Baltimore, will help the area.

"Anything to boost, you're glad to get anything," said Merle Franks.

Mr. Franks remembers a booming North Baltimore. At that time, there were lots of grocery stores, banks, and very few vacant buildings.

"Now there are a lot of people out here who drive to Findlay, 18 miles, to buy groceries," said Mr. Franks.

Many hope the new CSX Rail terminal will get this village's economy back on track, but it won't be open until 2010.

Just a couple of years to some, but it is an eternity for others waiting for work.

"You see it happening in other communities, it's happening everywhere," said the soon-to-be laid off worker. "Things have got to change."